Eredivisie preview week 4: It’s going down! (Not really, we’ve just started)
100! One hundred! One hund-red. That’s the amount of goals that we’re looking at as the first milestone of the current campaign. So far, 99 have been scored and it’s incredibly likely that the 100th goal will be scored this weekend.
The hunt for that goal will start on Friday, when Heerenveen and Ajax meet up. Both have won two and lost one so far and will be looking to improve on their decent start to the season. Apart from that, it’s the battle between the Icelandic strikers in the Eredivisie. We say, the, because Aron Johannsson of AZ saw a battle here he couldn’t win and flunked off to the U.S of A in search of a more fruitful international career. Aron is no Alfred or Kolbeinn and he knows it (yes, we’re aware Iceland are less likely to reach a World Cup, sssh). Both Icelandic strikers scored their first Eredivisie goals for their respective clubs against the respective opponents. Sigthorsson opened the scoring for the reigning Eredivisie champions in the Amsterdam Arena in a 5-1 victory in matchday two of the 2011-12 season.
In that game, Heerenveen’s team consisted of the Magic Trio of Oussama Assaidi, Bas Dost and Luciano Narsingh with Viktor Elm and Filip Djuricic in the side too. What an astounding team. In that year, Heerenveen scored in all but one of their Eredivisie matches and they challenged the big guns to the title, with Dost scoring 33 league goals.
Dost has since been replaced by Finnbogason and he has to carry the ‘awesome’-aura of the team all by himself. The brilliant striker announced himself to the Heerenveen fans when he opened his account with his current side with two goals against Ajax in the Abe Lenstra Stadion in a 3-3 draw. He then rescued an important point for his side towards the end of the season when he scored the equaliser in the Amsterdam Arena to secure a point for his team. So far this season, Finnbogason has been the more productive of the Icelanders. He has scored four and set up two in these opening three matches of the season, while Sigthorsson has scored two, with both coming in the win over arch-rivals Feyenoord on Sunday.
The two frontmen will be crucial in this battle as they each look to maintain a positive start and ensure they are within touching distance of PSV and not RKC. RKC will face NEC in Nijmegen and will be looking to take advantage (not in a dirty way) of the shambles for the homeside. ‘Cool coach’ Alex Pastoor has been sacked, NEC have endured the worst start for any side since 99/00 and something must improve. RKC should be able to win this, but maybe NEC were just ‘too cool’ with Pastoor and returning to normal temperature, they could be able to do something here.
As for PSV, the Eindhoven side have won all three of their matches so far, and pretty convincingly too. Phillip Cocu’s men are desperate to maintain that 100% record and build on the confidence gained from Tuesday’s 1-1 draw with Milan by beating Jan de Jonge’s Heracles on Saturday. PSV are not so good with frontmen. Locadia and Matavz are still without a goal in the league. Luckily, they have people around them who seem capable of finding the net, in Bakkali, Depay and Wijnaldum.
ADO Den Haag hope they can continue their one game unbeaten streak as they’re facing Roda JC, who are two games without loss. ADO were gifted an away victory at NAC Breda last week, with former ADO player Gill Swerts making a horrendous mistake, gifting the ball to Michiel Kramer, who then netted the 1-2 in the 93rd minute. In his post match interview, Gill Swerts said: ‘I didn’t do it on purpose’, squashing all non-existing rumours surrounding match fixing. Roda JC are not in the mood for presents lately, so ADO will have to do it all by themselves this time.
‘The boys are PEC in town!’ A lovely banner in the Zwolle stadium and it’s not a lie, because the PEC boys have been impeccable lately. Joint top of the Eredivisie, Ron Jans will be looking to overcome Cambuur to continue their perfect start. Cambuur were terrible at shooting until last weekend, but they improved all of a sudden, putting 4 behind FC Groningen (4-1). FC Groningen meanwhile will be looking to recover from that beating with a trip to Go Ahead Eagles. Or, as the FC Groningen faithful hope to see them in this particular match, the ‘Go Behind Eagles’…(Get it? Yeah? Oh. Yeah we know it was a bad joke, but…Ah sod it).
On a more serious note, Go Ahead have looked strong so far and with their game full of energy and pressure FC Groningen will have a tough away trip to De Adelaarshorst. The main threat will be former Groningen striker Marnix Kolder, who was deemed not good enough in Euroborg but has been quite impressive for the Eagles. The tall and strong striker will be anxious to show he is indeed Eredivisie worthy against his old club.
Talking about tall and strong strikers, the pressure will be all on Graziano Pelle to score goals for Feyenoord against NAC. He did that the last time they met, he did it last week, hell, Graziano is scoring all the time. But with Feyenoord having their worst season start ever, it seems he has to do some more scoring. Fortunately NAC aren’t having a good time in front of goal. They have only scored once this season and that was from a penalty. With Gill Swerts apparently keen to help former clubs, Feyenoord will be looking at the Belgian, who played 13 games for them, to slip up again. Not on purpose of course.
Vitesse and FC Twente is probably the most exciting fixture of the week, with Peter ‘Gung Ho Attack’ Bosz looking to let Vitesse play some silky smooth attacking football and FC Twente playing some silky smooth attacking football of their own. The two lefties in the latter side, Tadic and Gutierrez, have been outstanding, running the opponent ragged for two consecutive matches now. Vitesse have had a tough start to the season, being knocked out of Europe already and picking up 4 points out of a possible 9. Bony and Van Ginkel are sorely missed, which is hardly something to be ashamed of. At FC Twente, Luc Castaignos seems to be picking up something that resembles goalscoring form. The former wonderkid is still only 20 and could well become a wonderkid again when he continues to improve. Three goals from three games is a terrific start for the striker and with Vitesse’s high backline, the pacy ‘new Henry’ will be looking to exploit space behind defense and bang in some more.
FC Utrecht will close the curtain of the weekend against AZ. AZ enjoyed a 1-3 victory away at Atromitos in midweek, putting them in a good spot to reach the Europa League group stages. The latter is something Utrecht can only dream of. After being knocked out by Differdange, a Luxemburg side mainly filled with semi-pros, it’s not looking likely they’ll be appearing in Europe next season either. Even though the season has only seen three games played, a lot of teams are looking better than FC Utrecht at the moment. But behold! Willem Janssen has been loaned to them by FC Twente. The former Roda JC dynamo could form quite the partnership with Jens Toornstra in midfield and if those two can pick up the level they have proven to be capable of, this season might not turn out to be just doom and gloom.
Preview has been written by Michiel Jongsma and Peter McVitie.